Taking lead in revolutionising animal welfare measures, the UK Government has published an action plan that will change the way animals are treated in the country. The Action Plan for Animal Welfare launched by Environment Secretary George Eustice will build on the UK’s existing standards by recognising animals as sentient in law and committing to a range of new game changing welfare measures to protect pets, livestock and wild animals.
“Now that we have left the EU, the UK has new freedoms to further strengthen animal welfare standards and reinforce its position as a global champion of animal rights,” a government statement said.
During a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the Environment Secretary said that the Government would take a significant step on animal welfare by formally recognising animals as sentient beings through a new Animal Sentience Bill that will be introduced to Parliament today (13 May), putting animal welfare at the very heart of government policy decision making.
Launching the plan, the Environment Secretary George Eustice said, “We are a nation of animal lovers and were the first country in the world to pass animal welfare laws. Our Action Plan for Animal Welfare will deliver on our manifesto commitment to ban the export of live animal exports for slaughter and fattening, prohibit keeping primates as pets and bring in new laws to tackle puppy smuggling.”
“We will lead on the protection of animals abroad by implementing the world’s toughest ivory ban and banning the import of hunting trophies to protect iconic species. As an independent nation we are now able to go further than ever to build on our excellent track record.”
Key Points in Action Plan for Animal Welfare
Improve welfare for pets by:
tackling puppy smuggling through changes to import rules
introducing compulsory microchipping for cats
cracking down on pet theft through a new government taskforce
banning remote controlled training e-collars
Protect wild animals by:
making it illegal to keep primates as pets
introducing new laws to crack down on illegal hare coursing
supporting legislation to restrict the use of glue traps
funding wildlife conservation projects both at home abroad
Protect animals abroad by:
banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals
banning the sale of ivory by implementing the Ivory Act this year
prohibiting the import and export of detached shark fins to protect the iconic shark species
exploring a ban on the sale of foie gras
banning the advertisement in this country of unacceptable low-welfare animal practices abroad – such as elephant rides
Improve welfare for farmed animals by:
ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter
introducing new measures to improve welfare during transport
giving the police more powers to protect farm animals from dangerous or out of control dogs
examining the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs
improving animal welfare at slaughter
incentivising farmers to improve animal health and welfare through future farming policy
To deliver these reforms, the UK government will be introducing a series of Bills in due course focusing on animal sentience and the welfare of animals. There will also be a series of non-legislative changes to promote animal welfare over the coming months, with a number of regulations due to be brought forward as early as this year.
The government also said that it will ensure that animal welfare is not compromised in all its future trade negotiations.
The UK has been a frontrunner in taking animal welfare measures, and over the last decade it has introduced a range of measures to ensure care, respect and protection to animals. This includes banning the use of battery cages for laying hens, introducing compulsory CCTV in slaughterhouses and raising the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years.
The government is of the view that delivering on the plan will require understanding and real commitment from across Whitehall. These measures will not only benefit countless animals, but will also play a critical role in tackling global environmental and public health challenges such as climate change, antibiotic resistance and pandemic prevention.
Click here to read the complete Action Plan for Animal Welfare.